e-literacy and higher order thinking via web conferencing with first year teacher education students.

Year: 2000

Author: OSBORNE, B

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

For four years we have been working with first year students trialling various approaches to running asynchronous tutorials via first email and then webconferencing (Osborne, Wilson & Iles, 2000). This has been a response not only to the perceived needs of "saturated selves" (Gergen, 1991) and "the options generation" (Mackay, 1997), calls for flexible delivery, but also to assist prepare students to use Information Technology meaningfully in preparation for future roles in IT rich schools.

We have come to understand that apart from having to deal with system and technical glitches assocaited with delivery, that students have had to learn/we have had to teach a new form of literacy, namely e-literacy. This involves not just mastery of the software, but also new ways to interact with others. From this base it is then possible, free of the constraints of both time and place, to encourage students to go beyond the surface features of the texts presented, to delve deeper and develop higher order thinking skills in a spirit of critical friendship which Blanton, Moorman & Trathen (1998) found to be rare in their review of IT in preservice teacher education.

This paper outlines how we have been developing, and continue to develop, these skills on the basis of annual adjustments. It provides examples from the e-conversations and survey responses of the students. It also provides some examples of unintended but useful outcomes of asynchronous webconferencing.